Dubai Customs launches new cargo system to combat illegal trade

System will also expedite release of goods by providing advanced information and reducing need for physical inspections

Dubai's Port Rashid. Dubai conducts trade with more than 200 nations. AFP
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Dubai Customs has launched a new cargo system to enhance security measures, combat illegal trade and speed up the release of goods as it seeks to boost trade in the UAE.

The Early Cargo Targeting System, launched in partnership with the Dubai Digital Authority, is the "first of its kind" in the country, Dubai Media Office said in a statement on Thursday.

The system will expedite the release of goods and improve the entry of shipments by providing advanced information in a smart and efficient system, which tracks incoming shipments and reduces the need for physical inspections, the statement said.

The system will enhance security in Dubai and the UAE, protecting society from health, safety and environmental risks by monitoring cargo movement, detecting and tracking shipments and facilitating trade operations, said Sultan bin Sulayem, chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation.

Dubai currently conducts trade with more than 200 nations over land, sea and air.

Dubai Customs plays a "vital role" in countering the flow of banned and hazardous materials, Mr bin Sulayem said. The entity aims to promote business and trade, and enable companies to move goods across borders with maximum transparency and safety, he added.

The UAE’s foreign trade was projected to hit Dh2.2 trillion ($599.4 billion) last year despite the weakening global trade growth trend amid growing macroeconomic headwinds, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said in December.

The 15 per cent growth last year marks a significant increase compared with the World Trade Organisation’s 3.5 per cent growth expectation for global commerce, Sheikh Mohammed said.

“The UAE constitutes an exception in global trade and economy, it constitutes an exception in terms of services and infrastructure [and] it constitutes an exception in distinguished and stable international relations,” he said.

Last month, Sheikh Mohammed launched the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33), which plans to add billions of dirhams to the economy across more than 100 projects.

The plan calls for a doubling of Dubai’s foreign trade to Dh25 trillion and establishing new commercial corridors with 400 cities around the world, with a key focus on Africa and South America, over the next decade.

Early warning systems play a crucial role in detecting illegal shipments and materials, said Ahmed Musabih, director general of Dubai Customs.

Dubai Customs’ Risk Engine provides it with the technical expertise required to address the security challenges associated with round-the-clock customs transactions, he said.

The system helped complete 25.8 million transactions last year.

Updated: February 02, 2023, 5:36 PM